Scientists warn that the Atlantic Ocean’s critical current system, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), may be nearing collapse. The AMOC efficiently transports heat and salt across the global ocean, but recent signs indicate that it is trending toward a key “tipping point,” according to a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances. For decades, scientists have warned of a potential collapse, as rising temperatures affect the heat and salt balance in the system.

The study does not provide a timetable for when the collapse might occur, as the AMOC has only been closely monitored since 2004. However, if it fails, average temperatures in some regions of Europe would drop by 30 degrees Celsius over a century. While a century seems like a long time, scientists say that changes would be felt significantly over just decades. For example, February temperatures in Norway could drop by 3.5 degrees Celsius per decade. No realistic adaptation measures can cope with such rapid temperature changes, according to the study authors.

In addition to Europe, scientists also predict drastic changes in rainfall patterns in the Amazon rainforest from their model. They expect “a dry season becoming a wet season and vice versa,” which could seriously disrupt the ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest. In 2021, researchers found that the AMOC was at its weakest point in 1,000 years according to another study published by Nature Geoscience. If it collapses completely, it will affect every single person on earth – this big and important event!

By Editor

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